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Full text of "Silver Lake revisited : a pictorial"

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Silver Lake Revisited 

A Pictorial 



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Compiled and Edited by 
Gerry O'Reilly 



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For more information about Silver Lake, 
refer to the Wilmington Town Crier: 

"Fifty Years ago at Silver Lake", July, 1958 

"The Daredevil Balloonist", September, 1962 

"The lee Industry in Wilmington", May, 1962 



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Silver Lake Revisited 

A Pictorial 

Compiled and Edited by 
Gerry O'Reilly 



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PREFACE 

In the spring of 1996 after "Wilmington: A Retrospective " was published, I received a call from 
Dorothy LaFionatis of the Historical Commission. She told me that a gentleman who lived on 
Dudley Road in South Tewksbury had some old negatives that seemed to be of Silver Lake a long 
time ago; he wondered if the Historical Commission would be interested in having them. Dorothy 
said "Yes!" She immediately called me and within the hour I was at the home of Tippy and Maxine 
Burgess on Dudley Road ( if one stood on the end of Dudley, one could throw a rock in the lake; its 
that close). 

I knew both of them; they are Silver Lake old timers. As soon as I arrived, I was at the kitchen 
table looking at some old 5 by X glass negatives stacked unseparated in an old wooden box, rubbing 
up against each other. I removed one to get a closer look; the negative showed two buildings in the 
woods, no street only bushes and pines. Painted on the face of one of the buildings was a full sign: 
"Forbes". I held the neg to the light and peered at the image, Then, I recognized the building as I 
had known it from my youth, Coughlan's Store on Bay State Road in South Tewksbury. (Bay State 
is a side road off of Lake Street.) 

My fingers jumped into the box: Lake Street - a dirt road, Grove Ave. - a summer mecca, the ice 
house on Main Street, the Silver Lake train station, The Shawsheen Tea Room, Wilmington 
Center, a summer cottage under the pine trees, plus 40 more images. 



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By comparing the negatives to some posteards of the same era it is quite obvious that the pictures 
were taken by the same person or company that produced the postcards. The reverse script that is 
scratched on the negatives was done by the same hand as that shown on some of the postcards. A 
Mass. license on one of the autos pictured is dated 1918, thus dating the negatives. 

Where did the negatives come from? 

Tippy Burgess has an older brother, Leslie. Les lives in South Royalston, Mass. He was in the 
process of cleaning out his attic when he came across the negatives and was about to toss them 
out but decided to get a closer look . He saw immediately that they were of Silver Lake as he 
remembered it so many years ago ( Les is 81). Les called Tippy to see if he would have any use for 
them. Tippy said "Yes", and as soon as he had them in his hands he immediately called the 
Historical Commission. Les had no idea where the negs eame from but felt that they might have 
been used by another brother, Chet. Chet was a former Wilmington police officer and an amateur 
photographer and may very well have had the negatives while processing his photographic work. 

When Tippy gave me the negatives I could not wait until I showed them to the Historical 
Commission for the glimpses of Silver Lake of so many summers ago. The Commission approved 
the processing of the negatives into finished photographs and those photos along with some 
others are presented in this book, "Silver Lake Revisited". 

Gerry O'ReiHy 



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Prior to World War II, Silver Lake was the eenter of a geographical 
entity between Wilmington, on its southern border, and Tewksbury, 
on its northern border. The area of Silver Lake extended along 
Route 38 from the Black Rat {where the 129 bridge is now} to the 
Shawsheen River in Tewksbury. It stretched east to west from Salem 
Street to Hopkins Street. 

The visuals of Silver Lake were mostly taken around 1920. 



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Mildred Rogers School 




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The Mildred S. Rogers Sehool was named for the principal of the Silver 
Lake Sehool; she died in the Coconut Grove fire in Boston in 1942. 




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The Mildred Rogers School 



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The sehool opened its doors in 1939 as the new Silver Lake 
Sehool. The first and seeond grades occupied the building; the 
third and fourth were still in the "Portable -single session. 



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Lake Street 




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The view is toward Main Street. The Eaton home is in the background. 




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The Silver Lake Betterment Association was the soeial eenter of all 
activity at the "Lake" all year round 



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View of the Lake from Lake Street 




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The Silver Lake Sehool is shown in the left background; "Bloodsucker" 
beach is in the center on the opposite shore. 




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Silver Lake from Lake Street 



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View from Lake Street to "Skylark" beach in the far background. 





Lake Street 



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View along Lake Street. 




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Lake Street at Silver Lake Street 




View on Lake Street towards Main Street. 



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Lake Street at Silverhurst Avenue 



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The trees are banded probably to guard against the Gypsy Moth. 




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Flag Poles on Lake Street 



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Melzar Home is in the background; every home had a flag pole. 




Ice House on Main Street 




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The stones along the shore prevented erosion and kept the lakeside 
neat. The stones were removed in the late twenties; no one can 
remember why. As a result of the stones being removed, the lake shore 
eroded. 





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Pop Neilson's "Elms 




The Elms was on the eorner of Harnden Street and Glen Road. It was 
the first hotel in the Lake area. The Elms was a 16-room boarding house 
that had 8 fireplaces and an adjacent 8-room overflow house 




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lee House and Baby Beach 



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View of the ice house and "Baby Beach on Grove Avenue. A bath 
house is on the shore at the beach. 



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Baby Beaeh 



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The bath house is shown on the right at "Baby Beaeh on Grove Avenue. 




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Baby Beach 



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More of summer boys with onlookers at "Baby" beaeh. 



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Porterfield's Store 



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Tom Porterfield's store was at the Tewksbury/Wilmington line on Main 
Street at the corner of Vernon Street. 



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The Busy Bee was on the edge of Million's Grove on Main Street in 
Tewksbury. 



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Bert Milligan lived at 2 Main Street. The field was also called Rainey's 
Field and the Evangelist Camp Meeting Ground. Now the site of the 
"Pines". 



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St. Mary's Church 




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Former home of the Silver Lake Library Association; it then became the 
Silver Lake Catholic Literary Association. St. Mary's Church was 
located in the building until the new church was built in Thompson's 
Grove: St. Dorothy's. The site is now the Tewksbury VFW. 



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Schmidt's Store 




The store is loeated on Main Street in Tewksbury and its former names 
were "Clark's Store" and "Lenny's and Maria's". It is now Hobart's 
Country Store. 




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store housed an iee cream parlor and had a gas station next door. 
Behind the gas station and set back from the street was a reputed well- 
known "Speakeasy. Early in the 40's Armando DeCarolis, Sr. 
remodeled the store to the present structure for Mr. Clark. 




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Corner of Glenwood and Elmwood, South Tewksbury 




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This undeveloped area of South Tewksbury contained some fine summer cottages. 



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MeCIarenville on the road to the Shawsheen River 






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The MeCIarenville meeting house was also used by the Oblates 
from the Novitiate in Tewksbury for a plaee to hold Sunday 
masses for the summer residents from the city. 



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A Rest Cabin somewhere near Silver Lake 




Mrs. Norris's Forest Rest eabin somewhere near Silver Lake. 



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The Ewe and Eye Bungalow somewhere near Silver Lake 




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These young men up from the "City" rented summer cottages 
around Silver Lake. The look of free-spirited, easual summer 
enjoyment shows in their faees - Who are they? 




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A Typical Summer Cottage 




This well-built, summer cottage was somewhere near the Lake. The 
Automobile is a "brand-spanking new" model. 



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Bay State Road, South Tewksbury 




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The street was paved, and the store's name was changed to 
Coughlan's, then to Mullen's, then to Daly's, and then to Leahy's. 
It is now a year-round home on Bay State Road. 



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Old lee House Road 




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View of the Union iee house where the Town beaeh is today 




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Old lee House Road 




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The Cottage House and the Union ice house are on the shore at Grove 
Avenue. The "Moxie" sign is on the small white building. 




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When the building burned down, a new, one-story replaced it: The 
Fuller home. A new "Moxie" sign was painted on the side of the 
building, whieh was then visible from Grove Ave. The sign was 
painted over about 1943. Moxie was the drink; Moxie is the beaeh. 




Danger Beach 



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Swimmers on the iee house loading dock (The eut blocks of iee were 
poled between the two docks and then were loaded into the ice house). 
The danger to the swimmers is quite clear, thus the name "Danger" 
beach. 



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Grove Avenue 



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Grove Avenue was an unpaved street; the Cottage House is in the 
eenter and the Union iee house is on the lake shore to the rear. 




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Grove Avenue 




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A summer day at Silver Lake. 




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Moxie Beach 






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A post eard pieture of summer fun. 





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See the photo display in Demoulas. 



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Moxie Beach 




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More summer swimmers. 




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View towards Main Street from Moxie beaeh. 







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George Stevens' market, the Silver Lake Betterment Association, 
and the Ice House are shown quite clearly in a view from Moxie 
Beach. 



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Jaek MeLean was the owner, and the word - from those who remember - 
is that the fried elams that were cooked in Jack's were the best that 
were ever cooked, and - the former patrons claim - that's a fact. 



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Silver Lake Railroad Station 




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The station was located on Wild Ave. beyond Jack's Lunch. The station 
was the stop off point for all of the city people that flocked to Silver 
Lake for summer fun and the entertainment that the summer resort 
provided. 



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Maroon Field 

Maroon field was loeated between Cottage Street and Veranda 
Avenue. Maroon Field was a Silver Lake playground: Carnivals, 
baseball games, football games, hot air balloon shows, Jackson Club 
fairs , and every other summer activity possible. 



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Maroon Field 



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Maroon Field on Cottage Street featuring the Silver Lake Amateur 
Athletic Association baseball team. 



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The visions presented were made available to the Historical Commission by the following: 

The Burgess Family 

Mary Paulsen 

Jim Durhee 

Adele Passmore 

Norinne Marker 

IraSeskin 

Joyce Dal ton 



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